Fun de siecle, by Harper’s Staff

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From suggestions submitted by the public to “The Search for the Big Idea: New Year’s Eve 2000 in Times Square,” a contest organized by the Times Square Business Improvement District. The District received more than 700 suggestions “for the best way to mark the millennium in Times Square,” which were narrowed down last fall to the best 118. The ideas below were not among those chosen.

My suggestion is to dress a man with a beard and long hair as much like Christ as we know how and have him land in a helicopter five or ten minutes before the ball drops. After the landing have the man announce over the loudspeaker, “I come to remind you of Christ’s return in the air when every eye shall see him; the dead in Christ and those Christians who are alive shall rise to meet Christ in the air.” Then, as the helicopter takes off, have the man announce, “I will meet you in the air at some future time.”

For entertainment prior to midnight, reunite some of the great musical and comedy teams, such as Tony Orlando and Dawn, Donny and Marie, David Lee Roth and Van Halen, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Wilson Phillips, etc. I feel that a great reunion, as well as a look to where the world may be going, would be to make Sonny and Cher the grand marshals for the night.

New Year’s 2000 will be sort of a midnight communion with crackers and “spiritual” juice. The crackers will be like Soylent Green; however, they won’t be made from people but rather from a vegetarian substance, the fad ingredients of that year. At the moment, I see tofu with toasted sesame seeds. The drink will be called “Happy Juice,” a non-alcoholic, antidepressant, holistic juice with fizz. With these new anti-aging mushrooms sneaking in from China and the likely legalization of marijuana, the drink could contain both of these ingredients. Everyone will have their festive juice in a stylish flask velcroed onto their New Year’s costumes.

As the big, giant, sparkle-plenty ball drops at the strike of midnight, everyone in Times Square should hold signs on their heads with letters of the alphabet that spell out “Just Say No to Crime, Guns, Weapons, Violence, Drugs, Alcohol, and Abuse Towards Humans and Animals.”

Why don’t you ask David Letterman to allow himself to be lowered along with the ball? David would be dressed in diapers (nice baby diapers) depicting the New Year 2000, while his band wears diapers and plays a tune that he wrote.

The ball could be painted like an olive or a cherry and dropped into a martini glass, causing thousands of bouncing balls to “splash” out and bounce everywhere. These balls could have ads on them for discounts at New York City stores—the stores would pay for the ads which would help with expenses. Since New York is “crossroads of the world,” the ball could be painted like a globe and dropped into a steaming “melting pot.” Little bouncing globes with different countries highlighted on them could bounce out, or balls with flags of all countries could bounce out.

You should have the leaders of all Christian organizations come together in a huge ecumenical gathering at Times Square. You should have the real “greats” like Billy Graham, the Pope (or at least a cardinal), heads of the major Protestant churches like Dr. Choh from Seoul, Korea (who is the pastor of the largest congregation in the world), etc. You could have a famous convert to Christianity like Charles Colson as the mastermind and master of ceremonies.

I do a professional clown (hobo type). I would like very very much to be able to work the crowd and do a meet-and-greet all night long (just shaking hands and bringing smiles to all the people and also posing for pictures) and maybe give away a Mardi Gras coin saying “New Year’s 2000 New York City.” I hope to hear from you very very soon.

My suggestion is to have everybody dress up as New Year’s babies, because when you’re a baby you don’t hear racial slurs toward anyone . Everybody is the same. Everybody will have on diapers—large, medium, small. If the temperature is cold that day, people can wear them over their clothes.


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